On Wednesday, the Area Plan Commission of Tippecanoe County approved the final detailed plans for a new high-rise apartment complex whose preliminary plans were approved last October.
The Hub will be a ten-story, urban apartment complex on the corner of Pierce and Wood streets, one block south of Harry's Chocolate Shop. The ground floor will be available for retailers to put shops in. UP Campus Properties, the company that built Fuse, has partnered with Core Spaces to construct The Hub.
Nick DeBoer, West Lafayette's 1st District city councilman, believes The Hub and other high-rise apartment complexes near campus will lower rent rates for students.
"By adding additional stock of housing in such a good location it'll start opening up more venues for people to ideally have lower rent, have more money to buy goods and services in town like restaurants and bars," said DeBoer. "I don't want people having to make the decision of living in a nice place near campus or a cheap place away from campus. The upside of all this construction is ideally more market power to the consumer and less under the thumb of their landlords."
The Hub is just one of a flurry of projects hitting the area surrounding State Street. The vision is to create a vivid and bustling downtown which the city does not currently have.
High-rise apartments have been very controversial. Fuse was the first, receiving significant resistance. It went from an overly ambitious initial plan of 15 stories to five. The Hub started out at 13 stories but went down to 10. It is twice as tall as Fuse but didn't receive as much opposition. Fuse seemed to ease in the idea of urban high-rise apartment complexes with retail space on the ground floor.
"What all of these projects do is give West Lafayette a downtown," said Peter Bunder, West Lafayette's 2nd District city councilman. "Everybody is in favor of that, there is no debate on that. In the best of all possible worlds it should make rent come down and give us a more urban feel that we haven't had before. The Hub is less controversial because it is back off the street. It is not 16 stories, but 10."
Bunder is alluding to another high-rise apartment project, The Rise, which he spoke in opposition to at the Area Plan Commission of Tippecanoe County meeting because the proposed size and location has been polarizing. The next city council meeting in March will decide the direction of West Lafayette's new downtown.